Book Review: The 39 Clues: Book 1: The Maze of Bones

The Maze Of Bones

Rick Riordan

Scholastic Publishing, 2008

Plot Summary

      Amy and Dan are two poor siblings living in the care of their cruel aunt until their rich grandmother dies.  While at the reading of her will, they learn of a great secret that  changes their lives forever.   They are part of the Cahill family, the most powerful family in history.  They are then faced with a choice, take a million dollars from their grandmother’s will, or take a clue-hunt leading to an unknown treasure that was created by the very first Cahills.   Despite their poor state, they choose the quest.  Then launches a desperate search, with numerous teams composed of various relatives competing for the prize, and more than just the treasure at stake.

The Clue hunt takes them all over their hometown of Philadelphia, and eventually, as the series progresses, all over the world!  As the race heats up in progressive books, things get very competitive between the teams, who, although they are relatives, are not overly friendly, and become rather violent with one another.  Dan and Amy find themselves not only racing to find the clues, but racing to escape their relatives and their savage ways.  They also learn of another group racing for the clues, the madrigals, a very mysterious group, and they find themselves followed by a very strange man clad entirely in black.  Constantly racing for their lives, will Dan and Amy survive?


The worldview expressed throughout the book is not at all Christian.  The way violence is treated could be said to be rather flippant.  Although the teams are composed of relatives, they find no difficulty in brutally attacking each other.  That said, there are no godly role models in this book.  Before allowing their child to read this book, parents may want to judge if their child can handle some frequent violence.

 Age Appropriateness/Readability

The title Maze of Bones originally kept me from reading this series because it makes the book sound somewhat like a graveyard thriller. Upon reading the book I found very little in this book about a maze of bones. It is titled in  this way because Amy and Dan spend some  time in the catacombs near the end of the book, where they find the most valuable lead to the first clue.   All that aside, this book is a great read for kids between the ages of 10-12, especially those who enjoy mystery or adventure.  Those who have trouble reading longer books may find it easy to finish this fast-paced, 190 page novel.

Final thoughts

I really enjoyed this book.   The plot was a little predictable, but the writing was very smooth.  Although I was originally deterred from this series because it is written by a number different authors, I found that the books all ran very well together.  To find out more about the series, click here


One thought on “Book Review: The 39 Clues: Book 1: The Maze of Bones

  1. All my friends were obsessed with this series back in, like, fifth grade. I didn’t really like it tho…I was already obsessed with maximum Ride by then!! XD

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